Twenty four years ago I walked through the doors of an abortion clinic with the misunderstanding that my troubles would be solved in just a matter of an hour or two. No one ever told me that I would carry such a heavy burden for more than ten years following my visit to the abortion clinic.
Choosing abortion seemed like the only logical choice for me. After all, I was single with no intention of marrying the father, I had overheard my parents discussing abortion with another family member just a few years prior to my unplanned pregnancy - so it seemed like a wise decision. During this time, I was a student at the University of Akron studying Social Work. My future plans included a college degree, professional work, and then marriage and a family. My family expected me to accomplish these goals and I could not disappoint them.
Confusion was the first emotion I felt following the abortion. As I sat in the bathroom after the procedure, I cried without really knowing what I was crying about...I was confused. I felt an emptiness that was unexplainable. The following week I experienced some relief that I could soon go back to work, school and live life as I had been. Except...
Life was never going to be the same again. I just didn't know that at the time.
Every time the memory of the abortion surfaced, I just turned the other way. I found something else to occupy my mind. I discovered many years later that this is the denial stage. Suppressing the memory worked for almost ten years - although it had its impact in many ways. Experiencing many failed relationships, never finishing my bachelor's degree in Social Work, it was easier to change my major to an Associate’s Degree in Business. This seemed to be the best option since I struggled to accomplish any of my goals. I just pressed on with life and tried to do my best with what little I did accomplish.
I was 19 years old, just a few weeks before my 20th birthday when the abortion took place. So much transpired in the next ten years, I was married at 24 and pregnant at 29. I was a nervous wreck as a new mom. It was during the time that I was pregnant that we began attending church. I always thought I was a Christian, even though I hadn't been raised in a Christian home, I had always believed God existed and prayed many times. If one had asked me I would have said "Yes, I am a Christian." And so I began serving in the church. Teaching Sunday school and helping with youth group, etc.
It was within a few months after my son was born, that a young girl in the youth group had been discussing abortion. She talked like it was a heinous crime - "how could a mother ever kill her own child." Have you ever felt like a dagger went through your chest when someone makes a comment about a particular issue that you are ignorant about and suddenly you are faced with the daunting possibility that you committed a heinous crime??
That night I lay silent and stunned in bed. I began to cry out to God day after day and night after night. Guilt, shame, grief overwhelmed me. Sleepless nights, crying till I was so thoroughly exhausted that sleep was all I could do. No one, except for my husband, knew about my past. I never felt the need to tell anyone else. And no one else knew about that I was aware of... Except...
God. God knew all about me. And it was through the following many months that I began to really seek the Truth of who God really is and who I really am. I heard the Gospel for the first time - (funny, how one can sit in church for more than a year and never hear the Gospel just because they are spiritually deaf).
I remember the day I fell on my knees at the staircase, overcome by conviction and my great need for forgiveness and mercy. I had to get to the church and talk to the pastor. So I bundled up my little baby boy who was almost one year old now and drove the one mile to the church. Pastor Terry still does not know to this day why I was really in his office that day - oh, he knew I needed forgiveness, but I dared not tell him the details. I just let him know that I needed forgiveness and I wanted to be baptized.
So I received Christ as my Savior and was baptized. But I remained silent for five more years. I couldn't possibly tell anyone in church about this. They were all so perfect and here I am the Great Sinner!
During this time I was pressing into God daily, gaining wisdom, strength and help to raise my son. And I wanted to do whatever God asked me to do. My son was still just a baby - about 2-3 years old when the Lord guided me through the scriptures to Luke 1 and Psalm 51. I was to do as Mary and David did - obey the Lord in all things and teach transgressors the Truth, helping others turn from their sin and be restored to God.
But I did not know exactly how this would take place. I was not ready to go "public" with my past. And I only knew of two other people who had abortions. So I told them about mine...I could trust them. One was a friend and one was a sibling.
Well, that did not go over as I thought it would. It wasn't a terrible experience sharing, I just thought that they would want to know God as I knew Him now. That was not how that experience turned out.
So I waited. About six years - when my son was in school full time. I kept driving by this building on the way to his school and I knew nothing about this place except it was called:
THE PREGNANCY CARE CENTER OF WAYNE COUNTY, OHIO
"Is this where you want me to go to Lord?"... "Yes" that soft inaudible voice directed. Of course, I didn't believe this was the way to go. So I had to keep asking until I had enough guts to walk in through the doors of this PREGNANCY CENTER and ask if they needed help. I wasn't sure if this was a doctor’s office and I had no medical experience whatsoever! I was terrified that I would look so foolish for asking.
But the Lord confirmed within seconds after I asked if they needed any help. They responded with a kind and amusing look on their face: 'That's interesting, we just finished praying about needing another volunteer to begin our Peer Counseling Training that is starting in a couple of weeks."
A deep sigh of relief came out of my mouth. They had no idea what I was going through just to walk through their doors and ask that simple question: "Do you need help?"
The irony of it all was that God was about to show me who really needed the help.... ME!
I knew I had to share the truth with the directors after I filled out the volunteer application and saw what this place was really all about... a pro-life ministry... can you believe that?!!! The Lord literally directed me to a pro-life ministry - I did not even know these existed!!
The laughter and joy in my heart was beginning to be restored even more than ever before!
After sharing my story, the directors informed me that before I could begin volunteering I not only needed to go through that training but I had to complete a post-abortive bible study.
"Sure! I will do that." I said. Not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into.
Turns out it's still the best bible study I have ever done. It was a tough one to face all that was keeping me in bondage...anger, shame, remorse, etc. But I learned how much God really did do on the Cross for me. The expanse of His Love... For Me! Truly Incredible!
It's been a total of 24 years since my abortion and 14 years since the Lord saved me. The Lord knew exactly what He was doing in my life even when I did not know what I was doing in my own life. He knew exactly how He was going to get me where He wanted me to be that day when He steered me into the parking lot of that Center. He wanted to heal me first...and then He could use me to help others in the healing process of post-abortion. It turns out I really am a Social Worker - the kind that God intended for me to be. And I am so glad He knew what He was doing! Don't you just love how God restores our dreams?
One day He is going to restore another dream of mine...my relationship with my child that I aborted. I know my Child is with Christ and I long for that day...but until then, I've got some work to do. Ephesians 2:8-10.
God is slow to anger and abounding in Love and mercy. His Goodness follows me all the days of my life. He has restored me, carried my shame and guilt far away and planted my feet on the Rock. I am so glad He came for me. And now it's time to let others know He is coming for them too! He loves the sinner and desires nothing less than an abundant Life full of His Love to be poured into a sinner's heart so that they can be Set Free!
And that's my story.... until the next chapter.